When we think of gifts, many of us think of things. Go to the store. Buy something. Maybe even make something. Wrap it. Give it. Done.
Gifts seem to need to be tangible – something you can open, hold, use, eat, collect, put on shelf, wear… But what if there were a different way to look at this?
With Valentine’s Day approaching, gifts are back in our mind as the holiday reminds us that the way we show people we love is with “something nice.” Something physically nice. What if instead of buying something nice we tap into what is best in us and do something nice for those we love. What if we were the gift?
As a parent, the gift you give your kids to show them you love them is your time, interest, attention, care, love, concern, support and guidance. These are pretty amazing. Nothing to buy. Nothing to wrap, but still a gift – an amazing gift. You are their gift.
It is the same for your partner, spouse or significant other. Gift the gift of attention, awareness, interest, support, patience, understanding, respect, fidelity, compassion, cooperation, helpfulness, sincerity, openness, perseverance, sacrifice, strength, understanding and humility. These are amazing gifts – they come from you. Think how your relationship changes with these gifts.
The gift of you is priceless
There is one more important thing about this perspective, particularly with our kids. See, the more we see how valuable and “priceless” we are to the others in our lives, the more aware we become of our own value. So many times our world provides the metric we use to measure or worth or value. Most of the time, its metrics do not include our connection, care, love and support of others. It measures the degree of love based on tangible gifts.
We know that what we all want most in life is to love and be loved in return. These are feelings, not things. Valentine’s Day provides a great teachable moment for our families that in providing the love, care and interest in another, they learn that they are valuable, they are significant, they are worth it – to others and to themselves. They learn to give of themselves and This kind of gift has lasting impact.
So, challenge the messaging you get from your world. Develop your own beliefs that reflects how you want to live and what lessons of what love is you want to teach to your kids. We don’t have to give gifts to show we that or how much we love. We can instead show up differently to the people in our lives – to choose to see that we are gifts to others – as they are gifts to us. Imagine what kind of family, community, nation and world this could create.